If you’re trying to stay in shape or lose weight, warding off hunger can be one of the biggest challenges. It is much more difficult for most of us to make sensible healthy choices when our stomach is grumbling.
New research has discovered the brain cells that control our appetite – and identified the kind of foods that most quickly convince them that we have had enough to eat and are now full.
According to this report released this week from the University of Warwick, tanycytes are cells found in part of the brain that controls energy levels. These detect the nutrients in the food we eat and communicate the information to the brain.
Tanycytes respond to amino acids found in foods, via the same receptors that sense the flavor of amino acids, which are found in your taste buds.
The two amino acids that react most with tanycytes are arginine and lysine. Consequently, eating foods containing these will make you feel the fullest. The researchers found that chicken, beef stirloin steak, almonds, and avocados are among the most filling foods.
Plums, apricots, lentils and peanuts also have this same hunger-stopping effect on the brain, making you feel no longer hungry after eating portions of these foods.
Nicholas Dale, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Warwick, explained, “Amino acid levels in blood and brain following a meal are a very important signal that imparts the sensation of feeling full. Finding that tanycytes, located at the centre of the brain region that controls body weight, directly sense amino acids has very significant implications for coming up with new ways to help people to control their body weight within healthy bounds.”
The report hails this as a “major discovery” that can open “new possibilities for creating more effective diets.”
The 15 foods that scientists say will make you feel fuller
Cheese, especially parmesan
A similar study that examined the diet and weight of 373,000 people across 10 countries over a five-year period also found that nuts played a significant role in healthy diets.
Researchers from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) discovered that over a five-year period, adults gain an average of 2.1 kilograms in weight. However, people who regularly ate nuts as a part of their diet (including peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts) not only gained the least weight, but they also had the lowest incidents of being overweight or obese.